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Python is the TIOBE programming language of 2021 — what does this title even mean?

It managed to beat #C in the last month

Python is the TIOBE programming language of 2021 — what does this title even mean? Image by: Unsplash/Victoire Joncheray
Ivan Mehta
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Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

It was like the Formula 1 finale all over again. But instead of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, the popular Python and C# programming languages were fighting to get the TIOBE programming language of the year award.

In December, C# looked almost certain to win the crown, but tables turned by the end of the year, and Python grabbed the pole position.

For the uninitiated, TIOBE, a software quality measurement company based in the Netherlands, produces a monthly index of popular languages across the world. It’s based on the number of search results for a programming language across popular search engines.

It takes services such as Google, QQ, Sohu, Amazon, and Wikipedia to calculate the results. TIOBE uses “+”<language> programming” query and a special formula to devise these ratings that change every month. You can read more about the whole process here.

The programming language of the year title is decided by the jump in ratings year-on-year. Python overtook C# by a margin of 0.13% — almost a photo finish.

Python won the crown of the programming language of the year in TIOBE index
Credit: Tiobe
Python won the crown of the programming language of the year in the TIOBE index

The index doesn’t indicate the best or most efficient programming language, nor does it measure the amount of code written in a language across the internet. It simply gives us a high-level understanding of resources and pages available on the web related to them.

There’s a huge amount of criticism towards the TIOBE index, especially as it uses one query and doesn’t consider non-English languages. The organization said that it’s trying to introduce more parameters to calculate the ratings.

Other ranking indices, such as Redmonk and Stackoverflow Insights, use different methods to calculate the importance of a programming language. But Python usually ends up in one of the top positions, and has done so for the last few years.

There are a few reasons behind Python’s popularity: ease of learning, a vast number of libraries and community support, and growing usage in AI, ML, and research fields.

But all that glitters is not gold. Last year, researchers found that Python is not the most energy-efficient language around. Sucks.